The Cholitas of Bolivia were all over international news this week after Reuters reported the women had climbed the 6,962-metre Aconcagua in January, South America’s highest peak.
The women who climbed Aconcagua are Lidia Huayllas, Dora Magueño, Cecilia Llusco, Ana Lía Gonzáles and Elena Quispe Tincutas. It wasn’t only media that followed their climb, but even Bolivia’s president Evo Morales gave them a shout out.
The Cholitas are a group of 16 Aymara women between the ages of 25 and 50. They worked for international expeditions in the Andes before climbing their first peak with Huayna Potosí (6,088 m) in 2015.
Con sus coloridas faldas aymarás hiceron cumbre en el pico más alto de América, La cumbre del Aconcagua. Las bolivianas alcanzaron los 6,962 metros del Aconcagua este miércoles luego de haber aguardado varios días en Plaza de Mulas a la espera de condiciones de tiempo más favorables. Todo un ejemplo de voluntad y determinación. ¿Y tú para cuándo? #viveloHOY #Journey #JourneyApp #deportemexicano #deportemexico #escalada #escaladamexico #escaladamexicana #escaladadeportiva #escaladas #escaladaesportiva #escaladaindoor #escaladaenroca #escaladatradicional #escaladaclasica #escaladasclassicas #escaladaclassica #escaladamallorca #cholitas #escaladalibre #escaladatenerife #bolivianas #escaladafeminina #escaladaenhielo #escaladacapixaba #escaladaartificial #escaladaclásica #aconagua
“I would always see the tourists coming down with that huge smile on their faces,” said Lidia Huayllas. “From that moment, I resolved that I would climb up too, to find out what it was that caused them so much joy.”
They recently were asked if they’d consider going for Everest? “It would be a dream,” said Analía Gonzales from her home in la Paz. “But that’s a much more technical and difficult peak than Aconcagua.”
As for their choice of apparel, Aymara women always dress in a long woolen shawl, called a pollera, and a small bowler hat.
They are now planning on climbing Ojos del Salado (6,891 m) on the border of Chile and Argentina border before heading to attempt Mont Blanc.